I know what a lot of Titans fans want Santa Claus to bring them for Christmas.
A new coach.
There are growing signs as to where the fans stand. One is the thousands of empty seats at the Titans-Cardinals game. Another is Mike Munchak’s record.
The Titans entered their final two games 5-9 with no wins against AFC South teams.
The Titans play in the NFL’s weakest division and own previous losses to Jacksonville and the Texans, a team considered to be a Super Bowl contender and now has a much better chance to get the first pick of the 2014 NFL draft.
New Titans President/CEO Tommy Smith said publicly he will sit down with Munchak, General Manager Ruston Webster and Executive Vice-President for Administration and Facilities Don MacLachlan to discuss and evaluate the team’s past, present and future as it pertains to Munchak, who is completing his third season as head coach.
Admitting he has known Munchak for 30 years as a player with the Houston Oilers, as a line coach for the Oilers/Titans and as a head coach, Smith said their long relationship will not cloud his judgment on Munchak’s future. Smith said if the evaluation shows a need for a coaching change, he will make it.
“We have a lot of work to do,’’ Smith said in his first press conference held before the Arizona game. “We will fix this."
Smith doesn’t have a long resume as a NFL executive. Bud Adams’ son-in-law, Smith promised he would not be a Jerry Jones (Dallas) or a Daniel Snyder (Washington), NFL owners who often meddle with their teams and at times do more harm than good.
Smith says he will rely on the football side of the organization and Executive V-P for Administration and Facilities, Don MacLachlan, for the business side. MacLachlan has the best feel for what the fans are feeling and the impact empty seats will have on the financial side.
Munchak’s record going into the final two games is 20-26. The best he could finish was 7-9 and this was a season that held more hope than the previous two years.
For the first time in a long time, Bud Adams allowed the Titans to spend $100 million last off-season on new free agents in hopes of filling a myriad of needs.
Some worked, others not so much. Smith said his plan is to be active in this off-season’s free agent pool.
Instead of band-aids, they need a tourniquet.
They have to make a decision on whether Jake Locker is the quarterback going forward. Locker was supposed to grow into an elite NFL quarterback, but to this point he has an incomplete report card. He has been sidelined with a number of injuries since taking over as a starter in five games in 2011. He started 11 games last season and was lost for this season after seven games. He has had a problem with accuracy, having completed 57.2 percent of his passes during 18 starts.
Since the NFL has morphed into a passing league, the quarterback position is even more important and the Titans came into this season vowing to be a power running team.
There are other positions of needs to be filled before the Titans can even dream about playoffs.
It’s up to Tommy Smith to make the difficult decisions needed. He may not have asked for it, but it’s his baby now.
Sports Columnist Joe Biddle can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.